Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Last Airbender (2010)

I have to admit, I didn't really watch the film with its original production audio, but rather with the custom Rifftrax audio commentary that the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys made for this one. That being said, while the viewing experience was hilarious, self-aware, and more accessible, the film itself struck me as a humorless adaptation of the animated series, with beloved characters rendered into lame caricatures and plot points, along with a painfully dull, first-of-a-trilogy plotline. I cannot give this turd a full review. But I can wholeheartedly recommend watching it with the Rifftrax in place, where the plethora of shortcomings, misconceptions, and shoddy performances become not detriments to the film, but rather its glorious, epic-fail signature. For those who actually followed the series devoutly, and expected more from a big-budget Hollywood adaptation, I am sad to say, it's just not there; from the annoying reductions of the three leads to the impotent flailings of villainous Dev Patel, there is very little here to appreciate with any sort of sincerity. The effects, my biggest hope for the production since the original teaser on last year's Super Bowl, are, surprisingly, repetitive and unremarkable, and do nothing to expand what has been seen in the promotions. I made a decision, years ago, that the strengths of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and even Signs, made M. Night Shymalan worth defending, or at least, worth holding out hope for; why does he actively keep making it harder for me?

W/ Rifftrax: Recommended for fans of campy, overreaching fantasy/sci-fi such as Flash Gordon or Dune.

W/out Rifftrax: Skip it.

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